Insomnia DeStress

Sleep and Stress

Which comes first, insomnia or stress? Actually, at times, it can be either one, or even both. There are many reasons for sleeplessness: stress, worry, too much caffeine or a snoring partner. Sleep problems may also be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Worry and stress are the main causes of sleeplessness. Stress has a ripple affect on just about everything you do. At any given time during the night, stress can affect your sleep dramatically. Without taking steps to eliminate the cause, you could end up tossing and turning away any potential of sound, peaceful sleep.

When wakefulness occurs, consciously work through what you believe to be the cause. Keep a notepad by your bed to jot down your thoughts to address when daylight comes. Writing down your ideas, worries, or to do's that wake you during your sleep will help to clear your mind and allow sleep to return more easily.

The mind can be a powerful ally or a dangerous enemy. When you try to release or deal with stress, consistency is a key factor. There are many successful ways to help assure a continuous pattern of sound sleep.

  • Treat your bedroom as a peaceful environment for sleeping only. No television or computers allowed.
  • Sleep on a supportive mattress that is comfortable for you.
  • Pillows should be changed or washed at least every six months (check the labels for washing instructions).
  • Wash your bedding once a week - use lavender scented detergent/softener and for a special touch, spray with lavender scented linen spray.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake.
  • Prepare yourself by adopting a ritual intended for slumber - wash your face with gentle soap, brush your teeth, take time to wind down.

If you can't get to sleep within ten or fifteen minutes, get up and read or meditate. Try sipping a cup of warm milk or chamomile tea, or taking a warm bath with lavender oil - all have calming effects.

Release any anger. It's wasted energy and keeps you awake.

Try meditation, prayer, or simply writing in a journal as a way to redirect that energy.

Try relaxed breathing by breathing slowly from your diaphragm, not the chest. You can learn how to do this by consciously expanding your stomach muscles while breathing in.

Worry can become a difficult habit to break, but it can be done by replacing one stressful thought with another more peaceful and productive one; by doing that, you can be healthier, more alert and able to face the stresses of the day. Many people accomplish this by writing down their worries and concerns, and possible solutions, before going to bed. Preparing notes for the day ahead helps eliminate the worry that a task might be forgotten. This is a way of "wrapping up business" to assure a better night's sleep.

Stress and insomnia are the arch enemies of good health. Take mindful steps to control your stress so that it does not control you.

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